Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Midweek Inspiration: Age Is Just A Number

A couple of weeks ago I did my first "Midweek Inspiration" piece on this channel and and I am thinking that it might be worth doing a regular installment.... Sometimes, we all just need a hump-day-pick-me-up! ;-)

  • Diana Nyad is going to try to swim from Florida to Cuba in August. She failed* at her previous two attempts and is now going for this challenge again at age 60. Read the full story here. My favorite part of the article is her statement: "Look at 60-year-olds today. They're not old, and I'm not old. I'm older than I was, yes. I'm slower than I was, but I'm still vital and I'm still powerful, [...]." YOU GO GIRL!!!
  • Cliff Young was an Australian farmer who entered the Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultra Marathon (544 miles) at age 61 and won the whole thing. He raced people in full blown athletic gear while wearing an overall and work boots! Read the whole story here.
  • Nola Ochs graduated from college in May 2007 with history degree at the age of 95. That made her the oldest college graduate in the world at the time**. Favorite statement here: “You’re as young as you think you are. It’s just a number.”
*failed is a harsh word in the context, because no matter how far she got in her attempts it was longer than most people in the world swim all their lives possibly
**not sure, if she still holds that record

Happy Hump Day!

PS: With this post, we conclude the month of June along with the first half of 2010... Where did the time go?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ride Report: 2010 Greyhound Rescue Ride

Last Saturday was the second Greyhound Rescue Ride in Anderson SC. They have a 25 and 40 mile option as well as a metric century (100km/ 62 miles). I signed up for the metric century like I did back in 2009.

I started out my day early, but easy. My mindset is completely different when preparing for a race than compared to a "ride" which is basically just an organized group ride for me. My attention was not quite where it's supposed to be and this way I managed to leave late because I was READING while eating breakfast and just couldn't put the book down. Seriously? Then, I almost forgot to grab my water bottles that I prepped the night before and had to turn around to grab my cycling gloves that I completely forgot about. I arrived in Anderson with 30 minutes to spare before the ride started.

Last year I did the 62 miles basically on my own. I didn't have any training buddies to come along and since the haven't been too many participants in the metric last year, the people spread out so much over the course that it was tough to even find somebody to stick with. This year, things went a little better. First, a girl that I met during a group ride a couple of weeks ago was supposed to be there, there were way more people out on the course and the best of all, when I was walking over to the registration, I ran into one of my swim buddies from Katie's tri swim class. AWESOME...

And off we were. One hour earlier than last year to beat the heat and still not early enough (8.15AM). Mother nature was kind to us up until around mile 50 when the clouds were shushed away to make room for direct sun broiling. I wouldn't mind a 7AM start next year.. We'll see what happens.

They had a good turnout of around 100 riders over the three distance options and I think more people than the previous year have been choosing the 62 miles. The first ten or so miles, the whole group is riding together, then the 40/62 part ways with the 25 and a little later the 40 and 62 split, reunite after the 62 do an extra 5 mile loop, ride together for a little while and then split off again to be reunited maybe 15 miles before the finish. The route was marked extremely well* and there where plenty of rest stops (5 in total on the 62 mile route). There was just on mishap on the rest stop at around mile 50 when I dumped the warm water that I had in my bottles and refilled them with ice and water provided at the stop. Before we headed out again, I took a big swig out of my bottle and thought I have to throw up. Somebody filled the water container with a garden hose and it tasted horrible. So I dumped the water all over again and refilled one bottle with ice and bottled water (one of the last ones in the cooler). Fortunately, there was another rest stop 8 miles after that, where we were able to refill again with tasty water.

*Later I heard that a couple of people took wrong turns and I honestly don't know how that could have happened. I never even looked at the cue sheet, but you had to keep your eyes on the road on intersections and look for the blazes.

About the ride itself: I really enjoyed being out there and having Stacey as my riding buddy was great. The time was flying and we were chatting at least three quarters of the time while being on the road. We talked about racing and training and family and the World Cup. There wasn't a dull moment! I wasn't watching our pace closely, but was seeing an overall good time and good progress on the road while still feeling strong*. Mentally this one was much easier for me as the ride last year, because having a riding buddy distracted me from counting down the miles that I still had to ride. Physically, I felt much better as well especially after the ride was done. So it was a win, win and win situation here.

*Just the last 10 miles was a struggle... I was ready to be done with this!

We got back to the parking lot in 4 hours and 10 minutes of riding time (I stopped the Garmin for rest stops) which was 5 minutes slower than last year, but compared to how I felt after the ride last year, I am taking this ride any time. Besides, that still a pretty darn good time considering the terrain* we've been riding.

*The mind is a funny thing. I was surprised on how much of the course I recognized and amazed by the fact that I completely block out the memory of all the hills on it. Seriously, when I talked to people about this ride, I was telling them how "flat" it was for the Upstate.... Yeah right!

Stacey had a brick run on tap and headed out for that right after we got back... I thought about taking my running shoes with me, but ended up leaving them at home. I cleaned up a little and then hit the "buffet"! While sitting and wolfing down a hot dog and pasta salad, I got to talk with a couple of the other riders and ride stories were traded.... That's always fun!

This has been my longest ride in a year and it really got me thinking about me wanting to do Mt Mitchell next year. After these 62 miles, I was done... The thought of doing another 40 miles just seemed ridiculous to me and then doing a race like Mt Mitchell for my first ever bike race AND for my first century ride now seems like a pipe dream. On the other hand, I know that if I start pulling 60-milers on the weekends more than once a year, I will eventually adapt to the distance and the time in the saddle... It is possible... I have almost a year to prepare!

Sorry that I don't have any pictures of the ride. I was hoping that they have some online by now, but no such luck. I saw people around on the course with cameras, so I guess it's just a matter of time.

So long! ;-)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quick Sunday Recap

Looks like I needed another little break from blogging after having reached the 200th post milestone last week! ;-)

Oh boy.... Yesterday was a LOOONG day. But good stuff... Fun stuff.

I started out super early for a Sunday and was up and getting ready to run at around 6AM. I set the alarm for 6.30, but I was WIDE awake by 6 so I could just as well get up.

The plan called for a 1h 20m Zone 2 run with 25 minutes at 10K race pace sprinkled in. I was on the Swamp Rabbit Trail at 6.45AM ready to roll and I was not alone. Several runners, walkers and bikers were out there already, trying to beat the heat... But honestly.... You can't beat the heat right now and especially not the humidity.

This is me at my turnaround point in Travelers Rest... That's even before I did the 10K pace portion and I am already SOAKED!

Also, while passing the "Cafe at Williams Hardware", I noticed a sign saying that you can use the place's restrooms and you can fill up your water bottle there. That is always welcome. The place is really nice, they have a screened in porch and good food... Something to keep in mind for your next trail adventure! ;-)

 No... this is not a special effect.... It's FOG!

The run itself was alright. I was happy with my race pace effort, but my Z2 run was super slow. My heart rate sky rocketed right off the bat and I was moving very slowly in order to stay in the prescribed heart rate zone. Don't know what is going on there, maybe the metric century (race ride report to follow hopefully tomorrow) from Saturday played a role in that.

After the run, I did a little bit of stretching and then headed home and grabbed a shower and then headed out the door again to meet up with some friends to watch the Germany vs England game at the Bavarian Pretzel Factory. Since I haven't had anything to eat up to that point, I was starving and gobbled down their cheese spread with two pretzels..... YUMMIE... That was good.

And then of course there was the game....  A THRILLER! Two goals for Germany, then a goal for England... Then another goal for England that hasn't been given.... Taking a couple of deep breaths over the half time break and then two more goals for Germany in the second half... Final score 4:1 for Germany! YAY! The place was packed with mostly Germans and some England fans... WHAT A MORNING!!!

Germany is now in the quarter finals playing Argentina this Saturday. Plans to watch it are already in place! ;-)

After that the day mellowed out a little... Skyping with mom and dad, watching Argentina vs Mexico, a little bit of shopping and a little bit of cooking/ house keeping and the weekend was over again. SIGH!

So long! ;-)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Savannah GA Sightseeing

After having gotten my workout and breakfast out of the way, we headed out to Savannah.... And we certainly picked the HOTTEST day to do so... But just like the troopers that we are... We trooped forward to take a break at the first ice cream shop that we found.

Other than that, we did some sightseeing on River Street and also took a boat tour on Savannah River! Here are a couple of pictures from our day:

Bridge leading into Savannah on US-17. Looks similar to the Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, but is much steeper!

Get 'R' Done, Terry!

On board of the "Georgia Queen" overlooking River Street.

The old and the new bridge right next to each other.

And after seeing alligator statues and "don't feed" signs earlier that day, we finally saw a live alligator baby!

So long!

PS: Last Sunday was also Terry's and mine 3 year dating anniversary!! Are we still allowed to "celebrate" our dating anniversary now that we are married??

PPS: This is my 200th (!!!) post... Oh wow.... Let's get cracking on the next 200 then! ;-)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday Thunks: Welcome To Summertime 2010

Oh well... I know, I promised to share our Savannah sightseeing trip with you today, but it's Thursday... I like this edition of "Thursday Thunks" and therefore you'll get the Sunday recap tomorrow... PROMISE!

On other news: Germany moved into the next round at the World Cup and will play England on Sunday... Oh boy, I am already nervous. To celebrate their win yesterday, I went out and bought a pair of shoes! ;-)

Here we go:

1. It became officially summer on Monday. What's your favorite part of winter?
My favorite part about winter is, that we don't have much of one in South Carolina.

2. What was your worst summer vacation ever?
Camping near Venice (Italy) one summer. It rained almost for the whole week and when it didn't rain, it was cold... By the end of the week all of our clothes were damp. Which reminds me of another camping trip somewhere at the Baltic Sea were it probably rained even more and harder and it was windy on top of it... By the end of the trip all of our clothes were damp. Oh... This is a really close call!

In Italy we ended up having to take one of our travel compagnions to the hospital because he stepped into some debris while we got our car tags stolen during the other trip. In Venice, we got a good laugh out of peeing off all the Gondolieries by driving our motor boat through the canals while the travel compagnions at the Baltic Sea trip were more fun.

Sorry, I can't decide which trip was worse... They both sure did have several good stories to tell though! ;-)

3. Tell us about the best job that you ever had.
One summer I was working as the office help at an art festival. It was long hours, but the group of people I was working with were a lot of fun and the work itself was very divers... never got bored... not even a little! Wouldn't want to do it for the rest of my life though, but it was perfect at the time!

4. Who is probably talking a load of crap about you right now?
I don't care!

5. An alien appears and offers you the opportunity to repeat one year of your life. You will still know everything that you know now. He explains that no matter what you do differently, when you are returned to the present nothing will have changed. What year would you pick and why?
The year I lived in Berlin (Germany) for six months and right after that in Reading (England)* for six months. There is some small stuff that I would do differently now knowing what I know, but in general I would just like to do it all over again, because it was one of the best years of my life!

*It was in 2002 during the World Cup... I shared an office with a girl from Spain and girl from Ireland surrounded by English co-workers.... Emotions were flying high during that time!

6. Name three things you have on you at all times. Explain why.
When I pretend to me low maintenance all I have on me is the car key, money and cell phone... But who are we kidding... My purse can sometimes be mistaken for a piece of luggage that requires to be checked in.

7. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
The last letters were the thank you notes after the wedding. But actually I do have a "pen pal". It's my 75 year old neighbor from my last apartment in Germany and she "doesn't do" internet... So handwriting it is! ;-)

8. If you could have everyone in the blogosphere read just one of your posts, which post would you pick and why?
My post about "Operation Beautiful", because everybody needs to know that they are beautiful! Spread the word!
9. I recently read that the music industry continues to decline at an alarming rate. In the last year it said the sales of Michael Jackson's and The Beatles' music are the only artists who sales continue to climb. The article stated that the two are holding up the industry. Have you bought a CD or mp3 of either artist recently?
Nope... And not planning on it either... I can hardly remember when I last bought a CD or MP3 at all. I used to be all my ipod, but I don't even bother with that anymore. As mentioned recently, I am trying to recycle all the music that I already have and currently have fun rediscovering all the music that I bought years and years ago.

10. What radio ad right now do you find so annoying that you'd rather have a tooth drilled than hear it again?
I think 90% of radio commercials are just flat out annoying and I change stations or switch to CD as soon as the commercials come on. I really can't take it!

11. skipped

12. There is a knock on your door. It can be anyone in the world. Who would you want it to be?
I know, I should put like Mother Theresa or something like this on here, but I really don't know...

13. What would be the worst entertainment or sporting that you could be forced to watch?
That's easy.... Hunting and Fishing... Just don't see the point of it... Sorry baby! ;-)

So long! ;-)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Disturbe A Perfectly Good Sleeping Pattern?

OR Long Slow Run on Hilton Head Island!

I am so used to getting up at 6am or sometimes even earlier, so even on the weekends or on vacation I rarely sleep longer than 7am even if I don't have to get up. Since my party girl days are long gone by now, it's not like I ever get in bed at 3am anymore. So getting up early isn't that much of a problem and on top of it, you can do so much more stuff when you are out there early.

So since I was up anyways, why don't use those super cool pathways that are all over Hilton Head Island for my long run? If you think I was the only nut out there at 7.15 on a Sunday morning you are sadly mistaken. It was amazing how many people were already out and about.

I got on the path right in front of our hotel and was running towards the beach. It wasn't that far, but I am currently doing heart rate zone 2 runs and that means my pace tops out at a 12.5 minute/ mile. This way a trip to the beach and back should pretty much be my 1:40 hours long run. At least I had plenty of time to do sightseeing once again.

I did a quick stop and look around at this park only to turn around and see

the "don't feed the alligators" sign next! ;-)

My turn around point was Coligny Beach and even though it was still early the beach with already bustling with people. Amazing.... and so much fun!

The beach access at Coligny Beach is totally pimped out. There are showers and dressing rooms, restrooms, swings, benches, foot fountains and WiFi! Seriously.... They want to keep their tourists happy.

Oh yes, even that early in the morning it already was HOT and HUMID!!

I was back in the hotel by 9am, grabbed a shower and then we headed out for some real breakfast, because the hotel breakfast wasn't that great. Right after breakfast we drove over to Savannah GA for some sightseeing.... Coming up in the next post! ;-)

So long!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Palmetto Bluff Plantation Riding

Living here in the Upstate has a lot of advantages and we really do have the best of both worlds in our front (ocean) and back (mountains) yard. But living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains doesn't always fly. Especially if you just want to ride your bike on a flat road FOR ONCE!

Naturally, we wanted to take advantages of being in Hilton Head Island and the flat roads around there. After talking to the guy at HHI GoTri Sports, we knew exactly where we wanted to do that... The Palmetto Bluff Plantation!

Just for kicks.... The elevation profile! ;-)

Here is a commercial for the area, since I didn't take any pictures. I was too busy riding "like a bat out of hell" as Terry put it so nicely. Seriously... I was so stoked about the flat road that I just pedaled my little heart out and it was sooooooo much fun!

We got into a little drizzle that actually felt pretty good. It was hot and humid out there even at 10 in the morning. By the time we got back to the car, we and the bikes were covered in grit.

Nope, these are not tan lines, but dirt lines. Yummie! ;-)

After this 30 mile ride, I felt like added some mileage to my day. Especially because I am signed up to ride a metric century ride this Saturday and needed some more T.I.T.S.... get your mind out of the gutter! ;-) That's short for "Time In The Saddle".... OF COURSE! So I asked Terry to drop my off on HHI somewhere on the bike path. This way I ended up with 8 more miles for the day and also got some sightseeing in. No way you can ride fast for long on this path... Too many people, too many intersections, but it was worth it nonetheless. I also saw some local wildlife... Buzzards... Fortunately, they just had some roadkill lunch and didn't bother me... But it sure gives you an incentive to keep moving! Just kidding! ;-)

I worked up quite an appetite on the bike over the morning and so we stopped by at Kenny B's French Quarter Cafe and had a HUGE grouper melt.... That was good! We got there over a recommendation of a friend... It always is so much better to get a place recommended than just randomly go somewhere! Thanks, Ivey! I didn't take any pictures of the food (you know, this is not a food blog! ;-), but the place in and of itself is worth a visit!

So long! ;-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kayaking in the Calibogue Sound

We are just getting back from our little* honeymoon on Hilton Head Island SC!

*It's the little honeymoon, because our "real" honeymoon fell through due to my current travel restrictions... It's just postponed! We'll going to do it, once all the paperwork is sorted out!

When we got to the island on Friday our first stop was GoTri Sports in order to figure out where the good road cycling is to be found. We good some great advice in general and were also pointed to the Kicking Asphalt Bicycle Club website for cue sheets etc. Awesome! So we knew were to go for our ride planned for Saturday morning (will be in the next post, I will milk last weekend for the next couple of days for blog posts! ;-) and we also got a great tri jersey for Terry* for a steal... double YAY!

*This way, he doesn't have to race topless anymore! ;-)

After checking in at the hotel and relax some, we headed out for dinner and then drove out to Habour Town for a guided kayak tour in the Calibogue Sound. It was a 1.5 hour tour around the sound to see some sea life... mostly dolphins... it's not like they don't have sharks, but we "only" saw dolphins and several of them. Big ones and smaller ones, some were hunting and others just playing around. It was fun and impressive to see these animals so close up.

It was my very first time in a kayak and I had a blast! I found a rhythm right away and paddled away. I am glad we picked the 7PM tour because it was still pretty hot out there when we started, but by the end of the tour the temps were really nice. The paddling gives you a good upper body workout... I was pretty sore the next day between my shoulder blades!

We were talking about getting kayaks* for a while and now that I finally tried it out, I think we might start looking more seriously.

*Since we are already looking like a sporting goods store when we go on the road, a couple of kayaks won't make a difference anymore! ;-)

After the tour, we hung out a little more in Habour Town and had a drink. Well, I had a drink and Terry was the designated driver. It was really pretty out there and several restaurants had live music. All of it with a nice back drop of pretty yachts and people to look at!

Here are some pictures of our little adventure for your viewing pleasure.

Kayaks still on the shore.

The group on the way back in, pulled by the current.

Arrrrghhhhhh! ;-)

We are the total pros! Kayaking and photography at the same time! ;-)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

You Win, You Lose!

After having a glorious first game at the 2010 World Cup last Sunday, things didn't go too well yesterday for Germany against Serbia.

While the game sucked on more than one level, at least we got in a really good breakfast. You win some, you lose some!

Bavarian Pretzel Factory on Urbanspoon

A bunch of us met up at the Bavarian Pretzel Factory on Woodruff Road to watch the game. They have a HUGE screen set-up and of course they are already open at 7AM. Perfect! The place filled up good with tons of people about to watch the game.

It was my first time there and I thought that they did a great job with the interior design. It looks really nice and cozy with big tables... Great to sit together and socialize.

The menu is mostly Bavarian snacks (Brotzeit) items and they have a wide selection of cakes and pies and then of course the breads... Everything looked so good, it was hard to make a choice.

I ended up having the Leberkaes (a little like a meat loaf, just different! ;-) with a Pretzel and sweet mustard. The food was very good. My only complaint would be the sweet mustard. Not my favorite and normally I can eat sweet mustard with a pretzel and don't even need anything else.

I will sure be back... the Obatzda (cheese spread) just looked way too good to be passed!

So long! ;-)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


A couple of days ago, I saw a co-worker jogging over lunch on the company parking lot... In long cotton jogging pants straight out of the first Rocky movie... The temperature was somewhere in the 90's. A disaster waiting to happen!

Yeah... I am fully aware that I not always follow the advice that I am about to give you, but I sure strive for improvement in these areas. So here we go:

  • Hydration, hydration, hydration: Take in fluid and lots of it and best would be water. I know, I am a regular offender of this rule by drinking Coke Zero way too often, but I also try to drink water for the rest of the day. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated, so put a big cup on your desk and sip along all day.
  • More hydration and electrolytes: before you leave the house to exercise , take another big sip of water and make sure to take an appropriate amount of fluid with you depending on the duration of the planned workout and the weather conditions. In order to replace electrolytes while working out, you can take a sports drink along. I prefer to use Emergen-C for that purpose, since I don't stomach sports drinks well. Mixing apple juice with water (1/3 to 2/3) is a perfect drink to replace fluids AND electrolytes once you are done with your workout.
  • And one more tip about hydration: fill up your water bottles half way and stick it in the freezer over night and then take them out and top them off in the morning before you head out. Have one bottle in your car in a insulated bag to have a nice cool drink once you get back to the car.
  • Dress appropriately: use technical material that wicks the moisture away from your body, the hotter it gets, the more comfortable is loose fitting closing in a light color. Use sun glasses to protect your eyes, a hat to protect you head (I should do that more often) and SUNSCREEN!!!!! to protect your skin! Since I use an outdoor pool sometimes, I even use goggles with dark lenses and wear one of these snorkeling t-shirts (tight fitting t-shirts out of technical fabric with build in UV protection). 
  • Stay cool: Try to avoid exercise during the hottest time of the day. Pick a shaded route. Reduce the intensity of your planned exercise.
Oh.... And here is a nice treat to keep your pooch cool.

Just fill a cup with doggy treats and carrots, fill up with water and put it in the freezer over night. Karma is ALL OVER this one and doesn't even give me the sad puppy eyes when I leave in the morning, because she is so distracted by it!

So long! ;-)

PS: No workouts for me today. Hurt my back and was in bed all day trying to move as little as possible. After a visit to the chiropractor things have improved some, but still in pain. Hopefully it's better by tomorrow!

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    On The New Plan

    In the aftermath of last week's race, I was going back and forth about how to prepare for the international distance triathlon (1300 meter/0.8 miles swim, 40km/24.85 mile bike, 10km/6.21 mile run) coming up in August.

    I had a hard time shaking off the disappointment (mostly in my run performance) and get my stuff together to tackle the training for an event that is so much longer than what I have done this far.

    My first instinct was that I have to train MORE. On a second thought, that really wasn't feasible, because I already peaked out at around 8 hours per week in training (tri sports hours) for the sprint tri and doing much more than that is just not doable, if I still want to have some sort of social life and a halfway clean house. Besides, I tried to push it more in the past and always ended up exhausted and sick.

    With the new training plan (generic from Beginner Triathlete), I also decided to go for the quality instead of the quantity in workouts. I will still be making changes to the plan and take the freedom to delete a couple of workouts (I am not swimming three times a week!) and move others around to accommodate social life and other commitments!

    In the past, I was only looking at the duration of the workout that I was supposed to do without paying attention to the specific instructions that came along with the workout. Basically, if the plan said run for 40 minutes, I ran for 40 minutes and did whatever I felt like.... This way I always stayed put in my comfort zone.

    For the next couple of weeks, I want to make a conscious decision to train according to the plan for the duration AND the purpose for each workout. It won't always happen especially regarding the bike ride when I join groups, but that's okay.

    In general I think I started off my first 1.5 weeks on the plan good.

    Especially helpful for that was that I finally figured out how to set-up custom workouts in my Garmin Forerunner 305. I have this watch now for over a year, but as with so many other things, I hardly ever scratch on the surface of their functionality. After having spent most of last week fixing the Garmin (software updates, e-mail ping pong with the service center etc) I was already elbow deep in technology anyways so I thought I give it another shot and it worked.

    After customizing my profile with age, weight, gender and heart rate zones for the run and the bike, I set-up Wednesday's run and Thursday's trainer ride. It was a tremendous help in order to make the workout a success and do what I was supposed to do. Of course, it takes some extra time to set-up the workouts in the Training Center Software, but right now I think it's worth it.

    Let's see how everything shakes out!

    So long! ;-)

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    Home Improvement

    Can it be too HOT for blogging? Is that my excuse for not posting anything over the weekend? Kind of...

    I really don't want to complain about the temperatures, since I am always complaining when it's cold... But this weekend was kinda rough and I didn't even have the hardest job in the house. You see, we don't have air conditioning. It's an older house and so far, the AC has been on the bottom of our to do/ to fix/ to update list. Not so much anymore! Given, that the to do list has gotten smaller and smaller over the last couple of months due to Terry's hard work and dedication to the multiple projects... Still, we actually thought about skipping the installation of an AC and trying to sell the house without one. Yeah... This weekend was the straw that broke the camel's back. As soon as the deck is completed we'll start looking into options for the AC. And yes, the deck was the hardest job in the house over the weekend, but he made some great progress... Here are a couple of pics:
    That's our deck and the where you see the hole, there used to be a pool.
     Terry spent most of last week doing the framing.

     And yesterday started laying the floor.

     This is going to be a HUGE deck by the time he is done. GREAT JOB!!! ;-)

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    3,2,1.... WORLD CUP!

    Dear Hubby,

    All these times that I was bickering about you watching football, golf, basketball, fishing (seriously?) and whatever other sport that is getting broadcasted.... Well, now it's your turn, because today is the first day of the FIFA World Cup and for the next four weeks we are going to watch soccer and I'll get the big screen!

    I already added the iGoogle Football Gadget and on Sunday afternoon, we are going to watch our first game together....

    Like the whole 90 minutes! I might have even arranged for us to meet some hardcore soccer fans, so they can give you a soccer 101 training. You might remember, that I tried to teach you the offside rule already earlier this week to give you a head start, but it cannot harm to get these rules explained again! ;-)

    Your Wifey

    PS: As I mentioned before, I am not a big fan of watching sports on TV, but I am a sucker for big sporting events like the Olympics, Tour de France AND the European Cup and World Cup.... This is going to be FUN! ;-)

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    A Man's Ego Is A Delicate Flower

    I casually mentioned that I joined the "Turtle Ride" Monday night. It's a ride that is put up by a couple from the Spartanburg Freewheelers. There is 12-14mph group and a 15-16mph. The faster ride normally ends up somewhere in the 28 to 32 mile range on weekly changing routes with a mixed group of people. The ride starts just down the road from work, so it's a perfect fit for me.

    But that is not the real topic of the post, it just provides the setting.

    During the ride, there are a couple of stretches of road where everyone goes as fast as they want/can until you get to the next Stop sign. On one of the open stretches, we had a little race going on:

    There was one guy in a full Freewhelers kit that took off right away and another girl stuck on his wheel until she couldn't hold on any longer. So those two were basically already out of sight and out of mind in the first half mile of the open zone.

    I passed an older gentleman and offered to pull some. Shortly after that, I got passed by another guy and tried to stay on his wheel. During that process we dropped the older guy and it was leisurely riding for me for the next mile while I was drafting. He kept on checking over is his shoulder every 10 seconds, if I was still there. At one point, he pointed to the side of the road to make me aware of the gravel that was on the ground due to which I eased up maybe a second. He checked over his shoulder, noticed me dropping off a little and then he put down the hammer and I wasn't able to catch him anymore! Alrighty then, I guess I wasn't aware that we are racing here, but I guess that's part of the fun and also good training.

     Pic is from here.

    I am not saying here, that I am free of being competitive... Not at all, it kinda helps training and racing****. On the bike, the only guys that I am able to "beat" are the ones at least twice my age and twice my body weight and even that is not a safe bet. What I am saying is, that I think guys just taking it harder to be passed by a woman*, even if they fall in the category above (2x my age, 2x weight). Last year Terry and I did a ride out in Spartanburg once. There was a lot of climbing involved and I am good** climber.  Anyways, halfway through the ride Terry mentioned to me that the guys start getting peed off at me for dropping them on the climbs. But they obviously didn't have an issue with dropping me on the downhills*** and the flats, so really my empathy is kind a limited on that matter.

    *for what reason would there be the expression "getting chicked" exist, if it wouldn't bother so many of them
    **of course it helps that I am lighter than most guys to start with
    ***mental note: have to work on bike handling skills
    **** even though I never say that my racing is competitive

    All of this has to be taken in good fun!

    Later on the guy that dropped me, the older guy and myself pedaled next to each on the last couple of miles talking about the youtube video of Fabian Cancellara at Paris Roubaix this year when he dropped the whole field and the rumors about an electric motor being used. Bike geek stuff I guess... Even though I never considered myself as a bike geek either.

    So long! ;-)

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    Eat This, Not That

    Have you heard of the "Eat This, Not That" series? I have seen these books around for a while now and I have looked through several of them in grocery and book stores. So far, I never ended up buying one, but I think it's a really good concept that everyone can easily incorporate in their lives.

    The idea behind the books is to make simple food swaps and reduce your fat, sodium and sugar intake and with that reduce your daily calorie intake to loose or maintain weight without really "dieting".

    So on Sunday, we saw a little segment in one of the Sunday morning shows (forgot which one) about food swaps to enable everyone to survive the grilling season without packing on the pounds and still be able to enjoy the time and the food. I am ALL for that! Unfortunately, I can't find a video clip of that segment anywhere online, probably because I can't remember where I saw it. But anyways, here are a couple of swaps that I can remember:

    • Italian turkey sausages instead of bratwurst
    • avocado instead of mayo on burgers and sandwhiches
    • Mojitos instead of Margaritas
    • tortilla chips and salsa instead of potato chips and spinach dip

    Some swaps that I do on a regular basis is: replace ground beef with ground turkey, skim milk for 2% milk, avocado instead of ketchup/mayo, grilled instead of fried, veggie side instead of fries etc. There is so much more to swamp though!!

    Sunday night, I was grocery shopping and was browsing the aisles with a refreshed commitment of both Terry and myself to make a real effort of eating more healthy again (things got a little out of hand lately!). A meal that I always enjoyed and that is so simple and healthy is "rice and beans". It's a nutritionally very dense food, yummie and available in cans, which is really nice and handy when I plan on having it as an emergency "health" lunch in my desk drawer. But watch out, not all "rice and beans" cans are created equally. The first can that I picked up had mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) as fourth ingredient* on the list, right after water, rice and beans. No bueno! So I moved over a rack to the "organic" section and et voila, the next can I picked up had only ingredients that I was able to pronounce. Yes, the can was a little more expensive, but eating out over lunch I would spend even more, so for me it's worth it. I added artichoke hearts to the mix then warmed it up in the microwave and then added half an avocado. Good stuff!

    *In case you didn't know, ingredients on food labels are listed in descending order by predominance and weight. If you want to learn more about how to read a food label, click here.

    So long! ;-)

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Seriously? It's Monday again?

    Actually, I wanted to take a break from blogging today until I saw this picture and thought that was quite fitting.

    Don't get the wrong idea, I wasn't partying like a polar bear ummmm rock star.

    It's most likely just the usual post race "depression"... You know, all that training and anticipation yadi yadi yadi and then it's over in a blink of an eye. Anyways, today is the first day of my international distance training plan and I joined the Turtle Ride to get some mileage in and to get out of the funk asap... Worked... Much better now! ;-)

    So long!

    Sunday, June 6, 2010

    Race Report: 2010 Middle Tyger YMCA Sprint Triathlon

    400 meter pool swim - 14 mile bike - 4 mile run

    Results (based on chip time):
    Swim 7m29s (pace 1:52m/100m) OA 21/92 AG 1/4
    T1 1m46s
    Bike 46m03s (speed 18.2 mph) OA 43/92 AG 1/4
    T2 42s
    Run 40m22s (pace 10:06 min per mile) OA 69/92 AG 2/4

    TOTAL 1h 36m 24s OA 50/92 AG 1/4

    Leading up to this race, I was a nervous wreck several times. Of course, I know that pre-race jitters are completely irrational and I still have them... Nothing I can do about it. So it came as quite a surprise to me that I slept like a rock the night before the race. Last year, the night before my first triathlon I was more awake than asleep and when I was asleep, I had horrible nightmares about missing the start and getting a flat on the bike... The works! This time around... Nothing! Am I finally getting used to this racing stuff??

    The alarm woke us up at 4.30am and by 5.00am we were in the car and on our way. Of course we packed our stuff the night before. There is just so much crap to take along for a triathlon, I wouldn't dare packing in the morning. Once we were at the Middle Tyger Y (MTY), Terry had still pick up his package and we started setting up transition.

    All the pre registered participants were seeded based on the estimated swim time on the registration. With my 6m 50s estimated, I had the start number 19. Right away I thought that maybe was a little too much of a stretch, but hoped that this way, I would be able to get a good draft. Well that didn't happen, since we started one at a time this year with a 10 second gap between each athlete. I was never able to catch up with the starters ahead of me. But somewhere along the way I actually passed somebody and I never got passed which is mostly due to the fact that after me, they had a minute break before letting the next person into the pool. Several people complimented me later on that I looked good in the pool swimming, but it sure didn't feel that great. With swimming, I have a hard time estimating my pace, so I really don't even know, if I went out too fast or what exactly happened. I was glad, when I finally was done and on the way to transition. Even though I wasn't able to do my 6m 50 s goal, I came in overall rank 21 and was seeded as number 19, so I guess, I was pretty much were I was supposed to be. Also, I was almost one minute faster this year compared to last year.

    Transition number one was smooth and uneventful.

    On the bike I thought to myself... Yeah that's right... I forgot how it feels when you push and push for 14 miles. No cruising on this ship! Something I really never practice  during training and that I have to train more! I didn't use my Garmin for the race, so I didn't know what kind of speed that I was making, but I did wear a regular stop watch and looked at it at the turnaround point and thought to myself that this is a little slower than last year and that I need to push some more. On the way out, I was able to pass three girls and only got passed by one guy. So far so good. Just at the turnaround, several guys caught up with me and two or three girls. You win some, you loose some. I still felt like I didn't leave much out there on the bike at that moment, but later on I sure questioned it especially because I ended up being over one minute slower than last year. Bummer! But aside from the slower time that I made on the bike, the even bigger regret now is that I (once again) forgot to drink properly. And after thinking about the race in general, I am suspecting now that the failed nutrition on the bike set me up for the bad run that I had. Getting of the bike, I was still positive that I will be able to beat last year's time especially since my running has been going really well lately.

    Transition number two was smooth sailing once again. I was contemplating about wearing socks but decided against it.

    By the time I started my run the temps were in the 70's with 90% humidity. Leaving transition for the run I didn't feel that great. I felt wobbly and was breathing heavily. No worries I thought, give it five minutes and the first half mile of the run course (which is conveniently downhill) and things will start to feel better. At the bottom of the hill since still felt as crappy as before and since I felt a little sick, I didn't want to chance it and passed the aid station without picking up water.... The next mistake.  A little while after that, I started walking for the first time and from then on had several walking breaks throughout the course. Every time I started back running, the left side of my torso started cramping and I just couldn't shake this even with stretching. The second time I passed the aid station I once again didn't take anything and of course kept on doing my run/walk thing and got passed by the dozen. The last time I passed the aid station, I finally picked up a cup of water and had a couple of sips and poured the remainders over my back. That felt really good and I was actually able to run most of the last 0.6 miles. I can honestly say that I never walked this much in a four mile run and I am mad at myself that I didn't pick up water and/or Gatorade right away which would have possibility improved my run.

    Needless to say that with this run performance, I wasn't able to beat my time from last year. I was really surprised that to find out that I still was able to get first in my age group and collect my first prize money (a $20 gift certificate form insideoutsports).

    Right after the race, I really questioned my decision of wanting to start at the international distance in August, but in the meantime I pushed this self doubt aside and tried to focus on the lessons that I learned from yesterday's race. The top of the list makes "improvement of race nutrition on the bike", followed by "get into the pain cave on training rides, so you won't be surprised by it coming race day" and the final thought as of now "put on socks for the run, because 5 seconds in transition is not worth getting blisters"!

    Sorry that I don't have more pictures from yesterday. If I get some more pictures, I will post them here later!

    So long!

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    My First Prize Money

    I survived my second triathlon...

    And I won my first prize money (gift certificate for a sports shop) ever!!! First in age group, how did that happen? Well, I don't know how many people actually were in my age group, but I take it.

    Total time was 1h36m and something. I wasn't able to beat my time from last year, not even close actually. My run kinda fell apart, but I'll give you the details in the race report with splits and stuff hopefully by tomorrow.

    Right now, I am lying in bed with a splitting head ache... I'll take it easy for the rest of the day and take tomorrow off and then the training plan for the international distance starts Monday. Kinda have a hard time wrapping my mind around that right now, after struggling today, but I just hope the feeling will pass.

    So long! ;-)

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Updated: 2010 Race Schedule

    Earlier this year, I posted a tentative race schedule for 2010. Now that we are almost half way there, things have gotten a little fuller and more concrete.

    This was the earlier version of my 2010 race schedule:

    2-13 Myrtle Beach Half Marathon (registered)
    4-25 Palmetto 200 Relay
    6-5 Middle Tyger YMCA Sprint Triathlon
    8-1 Assault on Cherokee International Distance Triathlon

    And here is my current version:

    Already done:
    2-13 Myrtle Beach Half Marathon (canceled!)
    2-20 Green Valley Road Race 10-miler
    3-06 Reedy River Run 10K (new PR!)
    4-30 Palmetto200 Relay
    5-29 XTERRA Paris Mountain Trail Race 15K

    Planned as of today:
    6-05 Middle Tyger YMCA Sprint Triathlon (registered - that is TOMORROW!)
    6-26 Greyhound Rescue Ride Metric Century (registered)
    7-17 NW Columbia Sprint Triathlon
    8-01 Assault on Cherokee International Distance Triathlon
    8-14 XTERRA Paris Mountain Trail Race 7K
    9-17 Blue Ridge Relay (registered - the return of the D.N.R.)
    9-25 MS Ride - 2 day ride (not sure if I want to commit to this one, especially since it is one week after the relay and one month before the half)
    10-30 Spinx Run Fest Half-Marathon (registered - halfs fill fast)

    I can't believe I am signed up for another half now... Well, that'll give me a good goal for the fall!

    And while I was looking for the registration for the Greyhound Rescue Ride, I also found those pictures of me from last year.

    In the center of the picture, reading the map.

    Wow, this map mus have been interesting.

    Finally, I finished up studying the map, just in time to do some clapping.

    So long! ;-)

    PS: Anyone feels like joining me for the Greyhound Rescue Ride? I did this ride last year and it's a really pretty course. As flat as you can get it in the Upstate and a good organization. I ended up riding most of the 64 miles on my own and wouldn't mind some company this year!!! Also, our little doggy is half greyhound herself... So it's a family matter here! ;-) Let me know, if you are interested!

    A lot of dog owners came out last year with their dogs to sent us on the road.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Thursday Thunks: Never Agree In The First Place

    Once again, I am joining in for Thursday Thunks and here we go...

    1. When was the last time that you made an excuse for not doing something that you shouldn't have agreed to do in the first place?
    I honestly can't remember! Normally, I am pretty good about NOT committing for something that I can't/ don't want to do. Terry refers to this as my German straightforwardness (is that a word?). If I really do agree to something that on a second thought wasn't such a great idea, I normally just suck it up and do it anyways. I refer to that as my German reliability. ;-)

    2. Without identifying the person, is there someone in your life that you'd like to shake some sense into?
    I have to pick one person?? Seriously, even if I could do that, I try to avoid it. I am way too opinionated about how people should live their lives, when I really should just worry about my own life and my family. That doesn't mean that I don't sometimes think that a person shouldn't do this or that with his/her life, but I try to keep it at that..... A thought.

    3. Did you ever really care if Tiger Woods cheated on his wife?
    Not really.... I don't know either of them, so how can I really "care"? But I remember being disappointed that another "clean" star/ role model goes down the drain. Then today over lunch I read an article in Triathlete Magazine about pro athletes "man or myth" where the author concluded that pro athletes are stellar in one particular thing or maybe several things, but in the end they are just as human as anyone else making the same mistakes... So there you go.

    4. Did you watch the last episode of LOST? What did you think happened?
    Nope. I can't remember ever even seeing one episode of LOST.

    5. If your dining room china was made in Mexico, why is it still called china?
    Because it's too complicated to check the "made in" label first before referring to a piece of porcelain... Or you might just want to check the explanation on wikipedia! ;-)

    6. Tell us about your favorite movie of all time.
    I am NOT a movie person AT ALL. With that being said, the first movie that popped into my head when reading this question was "When Harry Met Sally".

    7. Do you think it's fair to get thrown out of a meme?
    How CAN you get thrown out of a meme??

    8. Berleen lives in Minnesota and Kimber in Arizona. If they were to meet halfway, where would they meet?
    Don't ask me, ask them!

    9. What do you think of heterosexual marriage?
    Is that a trick question?

    10. What would you change about your life if you had just one wish?
    Starting my healthier lifestyle earlier.

    11. How pissed are you that we posted late?
    Nope. It's still Thursday right?

    12. Tell us about a recent great day.
    Memorial Day. It was an extended weekend and even though it was kind of a bummer to have all that rain, it was fun to just take it easy, stay in bed and have the house to myself.

    13. When was the last time that you juggled?
    Juggling balls? Maybe three years ago. Juggling commitments.... Every day! I know, that one sounds dramatic, but most of those commitments I juggle with joy. If that's not a phrase worthy of a blog post in the future.... Juggle with Joy! ;-)

    On other news: I completed my last workout before the race this morning. It was a 1,200 meter swim that included some 50's and some 100's. I feel good and strong right now, but I have to say that I also start getting a little giddy about the whole thing.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Phone Home

    This post has nothing to do with E.T... We only share the wish to "phone home" every now and then! ;-)

    I am sure, that I am not alone when I try to remember how we used to handle life before cell phones... Simple stuff, like meeting up in a crowded place none of you has been before. What? You want to tell me that you never had a conversation going like this:

    A: Where are you?
    B: We are next to the giant M&M! Right before you enter the expo!
    A: Giant M&M? What giant M&M? I am standing right in front of the expo entry!
    B: The giant GREEN M&M next to the restrooms!
    A: Oh you mean the blow-up vegetable? Alright, I see you!

    This conversion (or something similar) took place during the Myrtle Beach Expo when everyone tried to find Coach Katie to pick up the team t-shirts.

    But I also spend some of my earlier years without cell phones and it worked... Just picture this:

    Three of my friends and I loaded up a VW Bulli to head out to Cologne for the Bizzare Festival. If my memory serves me right, it was in the summer of 1997... Oh, the days... Cologne is like a four hour drive from home and half way there in the middle of nowhere the Bulli decided to call it a day. It was a Friday morning of a festival that starts in the early afternoon. Thanks Bulli! So here we are in the middle of nowhere with no transportation. After a little back and forth discussion, we decided that the girls press on by finding people to give them a lift and the guy of the group tries to get back home to find alternative transportation. In order for us to find each other again once we are at the festival site, we said to be at the ticket booths every full hour! Fascinating method right?? But it worked... It worked that the girls and I found our way to the festival with the help of some strangers and our guy got back home with a train and then came to Cologne and we reunited as planned!

    With all this being said, I don't want to go back to the "pre cell phone" and "pre high speed internet" ages because:
    • my parents have a computer now and an internet connection (welcome to the year 2010!)
    • we skyped for the first time last Sunday.... it took us a little while to get the connection going, but once we were done, it was GOOD TO SEE them
    • hopefully, the process of connecting is going to be smoother next week! ;-)
    • over skype, I was also able to show them some of the wedding pictures, which reminds me that I have to make copies for them and sent it OR
    • I can set up a Facebook account for them and they can just browse through my albums there, but that might be a little too much too soon, I think they have to ease into this new world!
    • my cell phone makes it possible that I can talk to them every Sunday even if I am not at home... that makes it so much easier to stay in touch
    So long! ;-)

      Tuesday, June 1, 2010

      Trail Shout Out!

      Since I got my new aerobars installed on Saturday, it was time to test them out and get used to them in the next couple of days... Because it is RACE TIME next Saturday with the MTY Sprint Tri!

      For test driving and practicing, I didn't want to worry about cars, so I was extremely happy to receive an e-mail on Saturday over the yahoo eRide group, that the Swamp Rabbit Trail is now paved all the way* from Greenville Tech to Traveler's Rest. PERFECT opportunity to try aero position in a safe environment. Besides, the weather was crappy both Sunday and Monday and that meant that there wouldn't be too many people on the trail right? Maybe not... There were a lot of people on the trail**, walking and biking, but I would imagine that it would be even more crowded on a sunny and dry day.

      *one itsy bitsy tiny section north of Furman is still gravel, but hopefully that's going to be taken care of soon too
      **funny enough, several people I saw on the trail Sunday, I saw on Monday again!

      So on Saturday I rode from the house to the Swamp Rabbit access north of Furman (right were the gravel is) and then headed towards Greenville. After cruising into one direction for 40 minutes, I turned around and rode back. I took it easy because this was practicing time and to get comfortable with the aero position. Also, I still felt a little achy from my fall the day before. I saw a lot of people on the trail, but that wasn't a problem since they kept to the right, or moved over when I announced myself. There was one guy on the trail with a moped even though there are signs posted everywhere that motor vehicles are not allowed on the trail... Some people just don't care and think that rules don't apply to them.

      Yesterday, I was originally planning to do a nice long ride with a friend of mine and her husband and then came the rain (again). In the afternoon we finally got a little rain brake and I used the time to get another hour on the bike in. This time, I drove the car to the trail access and rode all the way to River Falls Park. I was able to make some tempo on the trails and it felt good to try to go fast while still maintaining aero. In River Falls Park things slowed down dramatically... There is no way to zip through there... too crowded too narrow, but it was just nice to have a look around.

      The remainders of the week leading up to the race on Saturday will be very relaxed for me. Short workouts and a lot of sleep is on tap. Sounds good too me... The weather looks crappy anyways!

      When I rode over this bridge the day before everything was fine, but the massive rain on Monday washed out this section and created the dip in the trail.

      Lots and lots of water in the Reedy River after a weekend of rain. Lots of dirt and debris everywhere. But as long as the water stays in the river bed and nothing gets flooded, I think we are good.